“making a retreat into self-protective cynicism” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday September 26, 2017
9:10pm
5 minutes
Fighting the Cowardice of Cynicism
Caitlin Moran

I suppose it makes sense: refusing to see someone’s good qualities so you won’t be decimated when they let you down. Some of us know which stake to hammer. Which part below the belt hurts. I’ve never experienced no as weapon like I do with you. Your no, I suppose, and it makes sense, is shaped like a gnarled hoof. It makes it hard for you to walk. For anyone to want to get close to you. I wish you could trust me a little bit. I wish you trusted yourself enough to trust me a little bit. I carry around shivs and rope too. I know what it’s like to wait for an attack.

“store it where it’s safe” by Julia on the plane

Monday September 25, 2017
12:22pm
5 minutes
overheard on the UP express

Money, my grandmother taught me, was meant to be given away, not stored in a sock drawer or a book you’ll never read again. She said the last one because once she was visiting and snooping and doing what she does, and she opened up my bible and a crisp hundred dollar bill fluttered to the floor. She asked one day, Kelly, where do you keep your karma sutra? I spit out my orange juice onto the front of my blouse. She then said, maybe now that you’re a lesbian, you should find a place to keep your money where you’ll actually look! Then she took a toonie out of her apron and snuck it into my palm, closing my fingers around it like a precious jewel. Buy yourself a clue, she said.

“DANGER” by Julia on the subway going south

Sunday September 24, 2017
3:12pm
5 minutes
from a sign at the train station

It has always been hard for Hannah to follow the rules. She was sneaking out of the house by the age of thirteen, smoking by fourteen, and driving dad’s Toyota corolla without even a learner’s permit at fifteen. I have always been more deliberate. More thoughtful. Mom told me I used to organize the vegetables on my plate by width. I don’t know if I believe her, but it wouldn’t be that far off. Hannah, on the other hand, was born wild like a balloon sailing off into the sunset. You can try to hold her as long as you can, but one slip and she’s gone, up, up into the sky, no destination close enough to see. Hannah was punished a lot as a kid and people worried about her. But I never did. I knew she would find her own way.

“I’m driving so couldn’t really see it” by Julia at Black River Farm

Saturday September 23, 2017
8:33am
5 minutes
from a text

It is not more important to check your texts while operating a vehicle. I believe this. My mother would say, PRECIOUS CARGO BACK HERE, EH? We once were with Justin, watching helplessly from the back seat, when he got caused a minor fender bender cause he was trying to text his girlfriend a shooting star emoji. My mother yelled at him that their stupid love could wait and Justin never really forgave her for that. She was fed up. She had a right to be. His girlfriend broke up with him a week or two later anyway.

“I wouldn’t want it any other way” by Julia in the car

Friday September 22, 2017
1:08pm
5 minutes
overheard at York Mills Station

All of us are tired from the rain. Maggie suggests we kill ourselves ceremoniously and Reece flips her shit about that. Maggie stares Reece in the eyes and doesn’t stop until everyone is laughing. Reece reluctantly smirks. The problem with people these days is everyone is offended by everything, Maggie tells us. Reece shakes her head. Some people actually do want to kill themselves, she persists, and I don’t know if you know this but some people actually do. I didn’t know that at all, Maggie says with mock surprise, her favourite of all the mocked anythings. Reece rolls her eyes and opens her chest to the group. Could we all just hold each other and intuit where might be a good place to travel? None of us want to fight and so we huddle close to one another, put our hands on the backs of our neighbours and we close our eyes.

“finally coming home” by Julia on Bec’s couch

Thursday September 21, 2017
1:45am
5 minutes
from a text

you keep telling me you’re on your way but you’re not. that’s cool. i’ll wait. just sit here by the beer stuffed chicken i made for you. cause you told me you liked it. cause you said you’d be home for dinner.
i get a text every 25 minutes or when you remember that someone is expecting you. things get carried away. timing is all wrong. you’re just caught up in the excitement. the roads are bad now, better wait. i thought about throwing out the chicken so you could see how you messed up, but i was raised way better than that. maybe i’ll put it on your pillow instead. tuck it way in there so you keep finding the juices dripping all the way down. my mother never said anything about bed chicken. you send a message saying you’re finally coming home and then an hour later i get the same message. i don’t respond. i don’t know how. if i write anything it’s going to be a lightening rod. if i write anything it’s going to be the end of me.

“making a retreat into self-protective cynicism” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Tuesday September 26, 2017
10:28pm
5 minutes
Fighting the Cowardice of Cynicism
Caitlin Moran

My cynic wears tortershell glasses
And has brown eyes

Her wardrobe is browns and greys
White black

She has an astoundingly dry
Sense of humor

She drinks dry martinis

She speaks Italian
French
Spanish
And a little bit of Japanese
Enough to get by
Enough to order the best sushi

When she speaks
People listen
People hear
Especially men
Men listen
No one
No one
Mansplains to her

She never has to repeat
Herself
She never has to interrupt